Draw reins...opinions please

Mollyy

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9 June 2008
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I have a lovely little event pony who conistantly jumps double clears at PC events...however his dressage is poor and he usually scores in the early 40's. I have weekly lessons with a good instructor but he is so tense and resistant, even my instructor says it is an awful lot for an inexperienced 16 year old to contend with. I contacted his old rider for advice, as her results on him seem to be alot better, and she told me that she used draw reins, I've never used them but am aware of what they do and also the problems they can cause. I wonder if his resistance problems have come from the draw reins?...
Anyway I'm not sure what to do, he is 11 years old, is it possible to change his way of going for good at this stage? Should I resort to draw reins or keep struggling on? She had placings on him at elementary but with me he's never got 60% + in a Prelim! So I have to say that they must have had some effect :/!
Any advice appreciated!
 

MandyMoo

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if you know how to use draw reins properly, then they are quite a good piece of equipment - but you need to be sure you know how to use them otherwise you can cause problems.

they could help him rounden (is that a word?!) a bit if you use them. but you could always use a pessoa n the lunge to help him use his backend properly and bring it under himself and the head carriage should come easily. possibly his muscles needed for him to soften have become weaker as he hasnt been in a consistant outline for a period of time??

i would keep trying with him, as at 11 he should still be able to be corrected in his way of going - even my 19yo who refused to soften is starting to!! (i used draw reins and pessoas...now he softens quite nicely
)

sorry im not much help - but i would say give draw reins a go (but only if you know how to use them...or possibly use them when your instructor is on the floor so he can tell you how to use them etc) good luck with him


i would also suggest the usual teeth/back/saddle checks xx
 

sye777

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4 March 2009
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Yes you can change him without the draw reins!
I would suggest you have a lesson with the best dressage instructor you can find locally and be ready for the burn!!!
I done the exact thing this week and learnt a lot. Best advice I was given was that I had to change the way I rode him as he has the carriage/muscle of a jumper so tries desperatley to evade the constant contact/bend and self carriage by either going above or behind the vertical and I allow him to! Was made to ride with hands upside down holding sticks upward to not drop the contact and lots of inside leg pressure if he dared to fight me.
It hurt a lot!! But the difference in 45 mins was staggering. He was pushing from behind and carrying himself and me beautifully. I was given lots of other tips but the basic problem was me!!
So yes you can change the way your horse goes. This lesson was not cheap but was so worthwhile. I will continue with my jump instructor but will also make the effort now with a good dressage instructor too.
 

squirrelc17

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i HATE draw reins as ridden so many horses that have been ruined by them,
but
having said that in the right hands and right circumstances i suppose they are a good training aid but not i quick fix, permanent problem solver. if you can try with out and i ditto the pessoa idea!!! they are great,
 

kerilli

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i detest them too. they occasionally have a use in EXPERT hands to show the horse that s/he can do something without evading/hollowing, but the trouble is that it is very rarely expert hands that are holding them. the phrase "the razor in the monkey's fist" is too true...
the thing is, 99.9% of horses have a reason for not working correctly. it might be discomfort (teeth, back, saddle, bit), lack of muscle, lack of balance, lack of looseness, lack of idea, rider not asking correctly, there are so many variables it can be very difficult to tell.
IF you really want to try them, make sure the rider does not use them to pull the pony's head in. having them there as a guard, with say 3-6" of slack in each one, to give the pony a clue about where you want him, is okay, and can work miraculously. used like this, the weight of the draw reins just hanging there can show the horse what you are asking for... the rider needs to have effective driving aids to make this work.
but most people end up using them to winch the horse's head in.
the parallel i use is that it's like my granny saying "i can't touch my toes any more" and me rigging up a pulley system, pulling her hands down to her toes and then keeping them there, and saying "NOW you can. result." no, it isn't really...
draw reins give you about 10x normal strength to influence the horse, and the horse no way out, so must be used with enormous care.
sorry to have gone on and on but i feel really strong about them, i've seen them used to abuse horses and ridden horses that have been abused with them.
 

OldGit

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I have a feeling MG was schooled a lot in draw reins, I have had real problems getting him to take a contact, as soon as you do, he drops behind the vertical. He is a bit dead to the leg, but also very sharp so at first a tap with a crop used to result in a trip to Mr floor!! I have worked my but off and now when I get the coment "above bit" it's a bonus, we're still a way off, but beware of gadgets, they can cause other problems.
 

CrazyMare

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I use draw reins on my 17 year old. We got to the end of all avenues. My instructor was out of ideas, her instructor was out of ideas.

She was perfectly capeable of working correctly, but was full of attitude and fight. We had more sessions of arguements than productive work.

The first day she fought and fought. Day 2 she thought about it, day 3 onwards she worked very sweetly, with lots of slack in the draw reins.

I now have them fitted very loosely and they come into play when she comes really 'girraffed' and thinks about having a tantrum.
 

UncleJr

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Very important when using Draw Reins:
1. They are an auxiliary aid, and as such, are for transitory action, NOT permanent
2. Definitely NOT to put the horse on the bit
3. They are for correction purposes only
4. Lot of impulsion is needed
5. Not to be abused of
6. Not to be used by inexperienced rider alone; experienced instructor must be present
There is a risk of ruining the horse or have a counterproductive effect if these are not regarded.
If used properly, they can have a very good effect
 

siennamum

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I expect you have to make the most of this pony before you outgrow him.
Taking months out to reschool him from scratch may really bite into your time with him, although you at least have the winter coming up to do lots of schooling. Can you try them with the instructor during your lessons. Might be worth a try to at least make an improvement before the end of the season.
 

Mollyy

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9 June 2008
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Thanks for all your opinions... Siennamum is right in saying that I do need to make the most of him! But I think you're all right in saying that they need to be used by an experienced rider, which isn'tme! By using them I'd probably just add to the problem. I'll keep trying with lessons and hard work!, if I can sort his dressage he'd be so fab.
Not sure about a Pessoa, he has a massively muscled neck, a very big topline but big nasty muscles in the underside of this neck to match! Would a Pessoa help this?
Thanks!
 

Peanot

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Hi, I bought a horse that had been worked in draw reins and she had developed bulging muscles around her wither/shoulder area and she used to work very tense and short with her nose in the air. It has taken a while, but she can now work over her back, light at the front in all gaits, and we have power steering and she is lovely and relaxed and works in a nice relaxed frame, either short or long, whichever is required of her.
Draw reins in the wrong hands have caused many problems with horses behaviour so although it takes longer, get a good instructor who can help you. It will be worth it in the end.
Find someone that can help your position as I find, when my horses are not going well, it is usually my position that`s at fault. Good Luck. x
 
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